The Arcade of the Demagogue welcomes you,
here everything has been gambled away
and is beautiful–
his slogans bolted on, one after the other,
gilded with fools’ gold,
his rusted tongue a helter-skelter churning out
fresh lies. Welcome to the End
of the Pier show–this is your Weimar Republic intro,
where automatic weapons are given out
for shooting ducks, no questions asked.
Coconuts shied, good intentions discarded and spiked,
a democracy gone feral,
and the frightened starlings tweet
as they swoop over the skeletal roof of a once glorious
theatre now little more than
a seedy cinema showing newsreel
propaganda on a loop.
The Demagogue’s megaphone din carries on
regardless beneath the watchful drones.
The day-trippers wear strange faces,
fear and suspicion sunken inside their eyeballs
as they peer through the café window
at the boiled lobster man in a pinstripe suit
eating his victory breakfast of champagne and kippers,
smug, lop-sided smiles all round, as if that was the objective of it all.
Soon the angry Beltane fires will flare up
the rotten piles and consume
this warped structure from end to end.
And at the pinnacle of the weather-beaten dome,
a brittle crown will eventually crumble
and fall into churning grey waters,
its fragments floating deep down to settle
on the cracked bedrock, to be adorned with barnacles
for centuries to come.